McDonald’s is expanding its workplace benefits program to include training from celebrities and influencers in non-foodservice fields such as entertainment, health care and technology.
The Where You Want to Be campaign, announced early Tuesday, will allow select employees to be paired with mentors in five fields: arts/entertainment, technology, entrepreneurship, health care and restaurant/food service. Bryshere Gray, left, a rapper and actor featured on the Fox TV show Empire, has been named a mentor in the arts and entertainment category. He also goes by the name Yazz the Greatest.
Dermatologist Dr. Meena Singh, who graduated from Harvard Medical School, is the health care mentor. McDonald’s will tap its franchisee network for mentors in the foodservice category.
The mentorship program is meant to reinforce McDonald’s commitment to providing its employees career opportunities wherever they want to be, said Melissa Kersey, McDonald’s U.S. chief people officer.
“You can have a career with us, or beyond us,” Kersey told Nation’s Restaurant News in an interview.
Other mentors include Tyler Oakley for technology and James Altucher for entrepreneurship. Oakley is a popular YouTube influencer and vlogger. Altucher is an angel investor, author and podcaster.
McDonald’s said the influencers will provide a real world, “a once-in-a-lifetime experience” for employees who will shadow them for one day.
For now, one employee will be selected for each category.
But there’s a high probability that more employees will be selected in the foodservice category, Kersey said, since McDonald’s expects many owner/operators to volunteer to be mentors.
“I have a feeling this will grow,” she said.
McDonald’s also said Tuesday it is now offering employees free job counseling from a career services advisor. Starting next year, employees will also be able to explore career opportunities through a new mobile tool.
The latest employee career perks are part of the company’s $150 million Archways to Opportunity program, which provides educational benefits such as college tuition assistance to eligible employees. Since the Archways program launched in 2015, it has awarded more than $42 million in high school and college tuition assistance to about 33,000 employees.
In late August, McDonald’s also rolled out a training program for disadvantaged youth in Chicago. The program is part of a larger $2 million investment McDonald’s is making in programs that provide young people the type of skills employers are looking for in entry-level employees.
“By connecting restaurant employees’ aspirations with the necessary education tools and career advising services to achieve them, we continue to reinforce our role as America’s Best First Job,” Kersey said in a statement.
Eligible restaurant employees can submit video submissions at www.mcdonalds.com/wheretobe until Nov. 8.
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Update, Oct. 30, 2018: This article has been updated to include additional information about the influencer mentors in the program.